Island Life

    Maui Musings

    On Island Time

    Location: Kihei Maui USA

    Here we are. Day ten already, Maui Musings on Island Time. So blessed to be here and feel safe and healthy here. Realizing now how hard hit this place is economically. I’m glad we didn’t cancel and can contribute in a little way to bringing it back to life. Here is our story, day ten.

    Getting Here Wasn’t Easy

    We came so close to canceling so many times. We didn’t want to lose any more travel money, and we had made these reservations so long ago…back in the days of carefree travel and no pandemics.

    Our view

    Neither myself or my husband had received our negative test by the time we boarded the plane. On arrival my negative test was in my inbox. Arne was still waiting. In fact he would wait another 12 hours until it arrived. So Hawaii told him to go into quarantine and stay put. When his tests arrived he immediately uploaded it to the Hawaii website per all the instructions but it would be another 36 hours before he received his official release from quarantine. My advice would be NOT to come unless you can get the rapid test because the red tape seems to be taking a long time. We talked to a woman today who has been waiting four days…and she is ignoring quarantine.

    By the way when Arne received the email that he was free to leave quarantine we ran down the stairs and jumped in the ocean. A perfect celebration.

    Where We Are

    We call it the Lund Condo, owned by Arne’s uncle, at the Kihei Surfside, as far south as you can go in Kihei at the Wailea entrance. We have been here many times over the past 23 years. It’s a remarkable place and we are blessed to have access to it. The view is unsurpassed. In fact the unit had some major work done to it last February, and then everything shut down. So we are the first guests to enjoy all the new and beautiful tile work.

    Maui rocks

    Since we have been here so many times, we know the area well and it feels like home turf. We are very sad to see one of our favorite restaurants next door has permanently closed. I know there are more too that didn’t survive the shut down.

    Even though we have been here many times, we have never stayed as long as we will stay this time. It will really feel like home by the time we say Aloha in late November.

    What’s Open What’s Not

    Since we were one of the very first visitors to arrive on opening day, the first two days the island was so quiet. Our condo which has 85 units only had one other occupied unit. The beach was empty.

    Pool to ourselves

    Ten days later the condo now has about a dozen occupied units but the beach and pool are still lightly populated. When walking around most people are wearing a mask, but not at the beach where it is very easy to distance. Everyone is masked up inside the stores. But if I’m being honest here, visitors are more resolute with mask wearing than locals…so far.

    Empty beach

    The large and fancy resorts near us in Wailea are all closed, with opening dates in early November. There is a beehive of activity at these resorts as the staff prepares the grounds and insides for guests. There have been no guests since March.

    Grand Wailea Resort still closed

    Small restaurants are open, but most of the large restaurants are still closed. The famous Mama’s Fish House is scheduled to open November 6th. Old Lahaina Luau is scheduled to open November 20th. Today for the first time we saw some snorkel tours heading out from the harbor next to our condo. Slowly, slowly things will come back to life.

    Our Approach

    We have not been to any restaurants. We went to the grocery store on our first day and stocked up and went again today on day ten. We have been cooking and eating clean and healthy and delicious.


    We have been running and doing yoga on our own each day…very easy to distance. In the past I have taken yoga classes here but this time I will continue my own practice to be safe and solo.


    We took a hike where we saw only three other people. We went golfing and it was easy to distance. So far, we have just done a lot of things quiet and easy. Beach time, pool too. All distanced. Feeling safe and healthy. In fact, it’s really not any different than home…well except the weather. That’s a lot different.

    Eating healthy at home – Taco Salad


    We have several friends on the island, some from back home and some who are here permanently. We plan to get together with them, in pairs so to keep it easy to distance. We hope to invite several couples over to watch the sunset with us here at the Kihei Surfside. It’s a great place and makes a perfect evening with friends…distanced of course.

    Social Media Purge

    Over the past ten days I have had great success staying off social media…it’s actually easier than I thought it would be. I’ve checked in a couple of times, but not every five minutes per usual, and it feels good to just take a break. My blog posts will continue to post automatically and I will check in from time to time.

    The Mug

    Meanwhile, time for a gin and tonic I think. A little Aloha and down time is just what the doctor ordered. Maui Musings, on island time. Wish you were here….


    Learn more about Hawaii’s reopening here.

    Did you see our blog on Travel Friday My Favorite Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest?

    North America Travel

    Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

    Summer and Fall a Great Time to Hike

    Location: Pacific Northwest

    Hiking is one of our most favorite activities and it is so good for you too. We love everything from walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain (almost 500 miles) to short day hikes close to home. Spending our summers in the Pacific Northwest where we grew up, we are spoiled by so many great day hikes close by. So I thought I would put together a list of my favorite day hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

    Olympic Peninsula

    Definitely one of the most beautiful places to hike anywhere in the world, the Olympic Peninsula is the closest to my home of the regions I’ve listed here. Located in Washington State’s upper Northwest region, it offers both day and overnight hiking options for the novice to the advanced. Listed here are a handful of my favorite day hikes on the Olympic Peninsula.

    South Fork Skokomish RiverMap it

    South Fork Skokomish River

    Beautiful and relatively easy with minimal incline (there is some but nothing too strenuous) this well-maintained trail skirts the South Fork of the Skokomish River in a region just Southwest of the lower Hood Canal. To walk the entire out and back it can be eleven miles or a bit more, or turn around at any point. Keep your eyes open for some beautiful and massive old cedar and Douglas fir trees. There are a handful of areas to access the river for your picnic or a place to rest and enjoy this peaceful location.

    Parking is available

    Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass Required

    Learn more about Lower Skokomish trail here.

    Storm KingMap it

    Storm King view of Crescent Lake

    We hiked this for the first time this past July and it is a climb! If you don’t want incline this one is not for you. But boy do you get some beautiful views from the top. The trail is steep and in places rocky as you traverse the 2 miles to the top. It’s popular on weekends so consider off season or mid-week. The last part to the peak requires use of ropes to conquer the top. Or just sit on the rocks and eat your lunch and let the young kids do that last part.

    Parking is available at the Crescent Lake parking area

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Storm King and Crescent Lake here.

    Lena LakeMap it

    Lena Lake

    I have hiked this trail all my life, since I was a little child and we used to hike overnight for our summer vacation. Some elevation to lower Lena, but it’s a perfect day hike at about 7 miles round trip. The incline is gentle and most anyone can do it. The trail does have some rocky areas and lots of roots but you will marvel at the beautiful old growth Douglas Firs. The turquoise blue lake is perfect for your lunch and then head back down. Overnight hikers can consider continuing on to upper Lena another xx miles.

    Parking available

    Northwest Forest pass or America the Beautiful Pass required

    Learn more about Lena Lake here.

    See more Olympic Peninsula Hikes here.

    Close to Seattle

    Visitors and locals in the Seattle area are lucky to have great day hikes a short drive or even a walk away. We often urban hike around Seattle and Ballard or head east of the city into the Cascade foothills for easy, accessible hikes.

    Discovery ParkMap it

    Discovery Park

    A hidden gem in the City of Seattle, Discovery Park is just that – a surprising discovery! Suddenly you find yourself in a beautiful wooded park, on a bluff high above the Puget Sound or on the shore of a driftwood-littered beach. If you are in Seattle and are looking for the perfect day hike close to the city, this is it. Multiple hiking options through out this beautiful 534 acre city oasis. Who knew day hikes in the Pacific Northwest would include one in the heart of a city?

    Parking is available.


    Learn more here about Discovery Park.

    Franklin FallsMap it

    Franklin Falls

    Less than an hour East of Seattle just off Interstate 90 is an easy little 2 mile hike to Franklin Falls on Denny Creek. This popular day trip from Seattle can get really crowded on a summer weekend. But check it out in the fall for a beautiful getaway with fall color, or in the spring when the falls are crashing from the winter melt. It’s a great multi-season destination and perfect for the whole family.

    Limited Parking

    Washington State Discover Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Franklin Falls and the Denny Creek campground here

    See more close to Seattle hikes here.

    North Side of Mount Rainier

    The North side of Mount Rainier is easily accessed from central and south Puget Sound and is one of my most favorite places to hike. There are many choices but the ones listed below are some of my favorite.

    Tolmie PeakMap it

    Tolmie Peak

    I love this hike, even though the road getting to the trailhead can be rough. Start at the Mowich Lake campground and hike the 7 miles round trip to one of the best views in all of Washington State. Passing by Eunice Lake and continuing up to an abandoned fire look out where you will not only enjoy a stunning Mount Rainier view but on a clear day you will also see Mount Baker, Glacier Peak and Mount Saint Helens.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Tolmie Peak here.

    Spray ParkMap it

    Spray Park

    This trail also begins at Mowich Lake on the south end. The first quarter mile your are walking on the Wonderland trail before the Spray Park trail branches off. This trail (6 miles RT) takes you through a beautiful and delicate sub-alpine meadows and along to Spray Falls. In late summer an abundance of wildflowers make the trail popular especially on the weekend. Gentle incline and this is easy for most anyone.

    Parking available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Spray Park trail here.

    Summit LakeMap it

    Summit Lake

    On a clear day you can see forever. No joke. This hike is worth the elevation gain of about 1300 feet over about 3 miles. It’s just gorgeous. The road to get there is not so gorgeous though so be sure to have a all-wheel drive if possible. The road often has snow into June. The best time to hike here is June through October.

    Parking Available

    Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required.

    Learn more about Summit Lake here.

    Crystal MountainMap-it

    Crystal Mountain

    The Mount Rainier gondola at Crystal Mountain ski resort is open in the summer and zips you up 2400 feet to the top of the ski area for a spectacular view. On a clear day you can see a succession of mountains including Rainier, Saint Helens, Adams and Baker through out the Cascade range. Hikers can hike down the mountain enjoying the wildlife and subalpine meadows, small lakes and creeks along the way or you can ride the gondola back down.

    Parking Available

    Gondola price ranges from $19-34. Online reservations are available.

    Learn more about the gondola here.

    South Side of Mount Rainier

    More remote than the North side of Mount Rainier, the Southside, including the Sunrise Visitor Center, has fewer visitors so is a good choice during peak season. But it does take longer to get there. Overnight in the Ashford or Packwood area makes for a nice multi-day visit.

    Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Map it

    Sheep Lake

    We just did this hike for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. The weather was not very cooperative however, so we did only about five miles. This trail, part of the Pacific Coast Trail, goes on and on, and I really would like to return and see more of it next summer. The first part up to Sheep Lake is very easy as the trail wanders along the ridge and then inland to the lake. Continuing on you have several options to Sourdough Gap as well as Crystal Lake. This hike skirts Mount Rainier National Park and falls within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

    We had the place to ourselves on a fairly stormy fall day, but this hike can be very busy on a nice summer weekend. Consider midweek or fall. The fall colors were excellent.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful or Northwest Forest Pass Required

    Learn more about Sheep Lake here.

    Burroughs MountainMap it

    Burroughs Mountain

    On this five mile hike that leaves from the Sunrise Visitor Center in Mount Rainier National Park you will get as close as possible to Mount Rainier without actually climbing the mountain. There are three Burroughs peaks on this hike, and snow is often on or near the trail well into the summer months so come prepared. It feels like a moonscape, and yet a few flowers and plants flourish as do several small mammals.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass Required

    Learn more about Burroughs Mountain here

    Silver FallsMap it

    Silver Falls

    This very easy 3 mile round trip hike starts at the Ohanapekosh campground and leads you to one of the prettiest waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park. Easy meandering trail through beautiful forest, offers a great option for families or those looking for less incline with a big impact. Spectacular hike.

    Parking Available although limited

    America the Beautiful or Day Pass Required

    Learn more about Silver Falls here.

    Grove of the PatriarchsMap it

    Grove of the Patriarchs

    One of the most magical hikes in Mount Rainier, Grove of the Patriarchs is a wonderland of old growth trees, some as old as 1000 years. This easy 1.5 mile round trip hike can be done by anyone, including children. It’s a remarkable oasis of nature’s beauty and a reminder of the importance of preservation and care of our natural wonders.

    Parking available but limited

    Learn more about Grove of the Patriarchs here.

    Summerland TrailMap it

    Summerland Trail

    This beautiful alpine trail is 8.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2100 feet as you traverse from wildflower meadows up into subalpine tundra admiring views of Mount Rainier along the way. Steady incline and occasional rough trail make this better for more experienced hikers. Snow can be present into early summer. Very popular on weekends and parking is limited so come midweek, fall or early in the day.

    Parking available on the road but limited

    America the Beautiful or Day Pass required

    Learn more about the Summerland Trail here.

    Learn more about all hikes in Mount Rainier National Park here

    And Many More

    mount rainier
    Hiking with the family Summit Lake

    There are many more hiking options both for day and overnight that I have not listed here including trails North and farther South. Two great websites to learn more about day hikes in the Pacific Northwest are and Washington Trails Association

    Be sure to check the weather before setting off on any hike in the Pacific Northwest, as even in the summer it can be unpredictable. Be prepared to encounter wildlife, bring bug spray and sunscreen and plenty of water. And always make sure someone knows where you are going.

    With a little preparation, day hikes in the Pacific Northwest are rewarding, invigorating and always stunningly beautiful. Go outside!

    See our blog about My Favorite Things in Washington State here.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

    This will be a short review. I didn’t like this book. Yawn… here is my book review of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

    Usually I would put down a book like this, or more likely never start it. But I needed a read and this was all I had at the moment. I know Nicholas Sparks is beloved by many readers, but for me, this is not my kind of book.

    Predictable to peril, sappy and silly, the story of two neighbors who fall in love, marry, have kids, endure a tragedy but live happily ever after was boring. I knew at every page what was going to happen next.

    My apologies to all those Sparks lovers…I know he has millions of fans. But I need a more challenging read and don’t plan to read anymore by this author.

    **Two stars for The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

    See last week’s review of The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    My current read The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

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    North America Travel

    Aloha & Time to Disconnect

    Time to Disconnect and Recenter

    Location: Maui Hawaii

    We made it. I wasn’t sure we actually would but we have arrived safe and sound in Maui. My first flight since leaving lockdown on Cyprus on April 30th. Feeling grateful for Aloha and time to disconnect.

    Getting here was a trial. Arriving on the first day Hawaii reopened to tourists meant jumping through a lot of hoops, waiting for test results, and stressing when those did not appear. We boarded the plan without test results. But when we landed my negative results were in my inbox, but my husband’s were not. What to do?

    Arrival at the airport was well thought-out and and easy. They allowed us both to proceed, with Arne needing to quarantine but at our condo and not at a hotel as we had feared. But only I could rent a car. Luckily at least one of us could get the car. When his results arrive (hopefully soon) he will need to download the information to the tourism site. In the meantime he can not leave the condo and if he does and gets caught the fine is $5000. Whoa.

    But I have no doubt all this will be worth it for five weeks on the most beautiful island in the world.

    As much as we have loved being home with family, the past months have been stressful indeed as we all have tried to figure out how to operate in this world of Covid. Even though I feel safe at my house, I still have a lot of worry for my family and friends and for the question of what the future will look like.

    Hawaii (photo from Canva)

    Time to Disconnect for Awhile

    Finally making it to Hawaii, a week later than our originally scheduled trip (scheduled 14 months ago, long before Covid), we feel happy we didn’t need to cancel at least. Maui is one of my favorite places in the entire world (that’s saying a lot considering how much I have traveled) and I am absolutely thrilled to be back here again. My last visit was in June 2016. While here we don’t plan to do much, other than relax, so social distancing will be easy. I’ve been here enough times I don’t need to do anything touristy.

    I have decided to make this a real vacation as much as possible, including a social media vacation. I’m not saying I am never going to check in – I’m sure I will. But I am unplugging and letting my hair down for awhile. Stepping away from the fray.

    Hawaii (photo from Canva)

    Lots of Blogs and Tasty Tuesday Scheduled in Advance

    But the great thing about technology, is if you plan well enough in advance, you can schedule blog and social media posts so my faithful audience won’t really notice a thing. In the weeks prior to our departure I set up Tasty Tuesday, Reading Wednesday and Inspire Friday to post automatically as much as possible in the weeks ahead.

    My Time to ReCharge

    I’ll be checking in to make sure everything is running smoothly and I hope you will all continue to enjoy My Fab Fifties Life while I take a little breather. A re-charge, re-access, re-center, re-juvenate breather. For this I re-joice.

    See ya on the flip side peeps. Take some time for yourself too. And be kind.

    I love you all. Thanks for your continued support. Aloha.

    photo from Canva
    photo from Canva
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    Chilling and a page turning, Lisa Jewell had me riveted to this book. Creepy yet not horror, and mostly quite believable. Here is my book review of The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.

    A few times in reading this book I was reminded of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It’s not exactly the same, but there were a few similarities. Mostly the fact that a stranger comes and literally takes over the house and family, eventually to peril.

    Libby Jones, adopted as a baby, finally learns at 25 years old that she has inherited a house. The sole heir of a mysterious house that has witnessed murder, disappearance and intrigue.

    Libby befriends a local journalist and together they begin to unravel the incredible tale of Cheyne Walk, a long abandoned mansion in the fashionable Chelsie neighborhood of London.

    But Libby will be astonished to learn who her birth parents were, how they were manipulated by an unusual family who moved in upstairs and that she has a brother and sister she has never known. Her parents were murdered, no one was ever convicted and the siblings were never found. Are they dead? Where are they?

    The Family Upstairs brings together three families, their lives and loves, their insanity and dark secrets.

    ****Four stars for The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    Read last week’s review of The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

    My current read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

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    North America Travel

    Discovering Packwood Washington & The Surrounding Area

    Sanity Staycation #3 – Summer 2020

    Location: Packwood Washington

    Our third and final close-to-home Sanity Staycation for summer 2020 had us searching for new hiking adventures south of Mount Rainier. And we found what we were looking for by discovering Packwood, Washington and the surrounding area.

    The tiny town of Packwood, founded in the early 1800’s, has long been a jumping off point for Mount Rainier National Park. The first National Forest Service Ranger Station was here, and today most people make their living from summer tourists and winter skiers. But Packwood also was a logging community back in the day, and neighboring towns of Morton and Randle still serve in this capacity.

    Packwood Washington
    Moon Mountain Lodging

    We loved the little cabin we rented at Moon Mountain Lodging, a collection of four cabins on a quiet and beautifully wooded piece of property about a mile from the town of Packwood. We stayed in the one bedroom Cedar Cabin and because of Covid, we used the small but efficient kitchen for all of our meals in the cabin. See this lovely spot here.

    Packwood Washington
    Packwood Brewing Co.

    We got takeout one night at the White Pass Taqueria and it was amazing. And we visited the Packwood Brewing Company where social distancing was really easy on a week night. The beer was excellent and we played Scrabble while we drank our beer, and watched the giant elk walk right through the outdoor beer garden.

    Packwood Washington

    We have good friends who have a home in Packwood and we enjoyed one evening with them, and also played nine-holes with them at the members only High Valley Golf Course. Cutest little golf course I ever played at.

    Packwood Washington
    High Valley Golf Club with my friend Janet

    We enjoyed four different hikes during our visit to the area and I recommend all of them;

    SNOW LAKE – a beautiful hike with a bit of elevation but only about 4 miles round trip, the hike to Snow Lake just inside Mount Rainier National Park near Paradise takes you to a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by forests and hills.

    Mount Rainier National Park
    Snow Lake

    GROVE OF THE PATRIARCHS – anyone can do this easy and flat 1.5 mile loop trail within the National Park where 1000 year-old old-growth trees are a sight to behold. I’ve done this hike many times and every time I am dazzled by the majesty of it.

    Mount Rainier National Park
    Grove of the Patriarchs

    LAKE PACKWOOD – unfortunately we did this 9 mile round trip hike on a very wet and cold day, but we persevered through a beautiful forest trail that is well maintained. The lake used to house many Forest Service cabins and a handful still remain.

    Lake Packwood
    Lake Packwood Trail

    SHEEP LAKE – the trail to Sheep Lake is easy and it’s about 4 miles round trip. The lake is stunning and we visited on a fall day when the colors were at their best. The trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and continues on past the lake for many miles to Sourdough Gap and eventually Crystal Lake. You can make this hike a full day or just a short hike.

    Sheep Lake
    Sheep Lake Trail

    We did not continue up to White Pass Ski Area but it is about 20 minutes from Packwood and is a wonderful winter playground. Packwood is home to a handful of restaurants, bars, a wonderful bakery and one grocery store. There are many lodging options too. Learn more about visiting Packwood here.

    Discovering Packwood Washington and the surrounding area turned out to be a perfect Staycation for us. I learned a lot about this area and hope to return again.

    Grove of the Patriarchs
    Grove of the Patriarchs

    Check out our previous Sanity Staycation #1 to Whidbey Island and our Sanity Staycation #2 to a tree house in Fall City.

    Despite my Summer of Miscontent, we have seen and done a lot, all while social distancing. It looks like this will be our life for awhile.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Great Influenza by John M Barry

    Reading Wednesday

    Holy Cow this book taught me so much. And the biggest thing it taught me is how important telling the truth in the beginning is. How important it is for government and science to gain and retain the public’s trust and be truthful. The truth was held back in the 1918 Influenza and it certainly was held back in 2020.

    Fascinating in scope and presentation, Barry manages to present a hugely difficult topic in a way that any lay person can understand. The vast research done for this book, the amount of detail and insight is truly remarkable. Barry starts at the beginning and takes the reader (or listener in my case as I did this one on Audible) week by week as the virus spread from the United States around the world. Killing in the end at least 100 million people.

    The 1918 epidemic was the first clash of science and a virus, at a time of war, a time of burgeoning medical science and a time of very poor leadership in the Whitehouse.

    The what ifs are in the hundreds. But did we learn anything from this fatal time in our history? Apparently not.

    Read it. It will truly help you understand what we are dealing with in the world today. Five stars for John Barry’s The Great Influenza.

    Read last week’s review of Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

    My current read The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

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